Pullman, George Pullman, Pullman Company discussed on Your Brain on Facts
You Load Sixteen tons runs and what are you get another day older and deeper in debt Saint Peter. Don't you call me because I can't go. I owe my soul to the company store that Song Sixteen tons was a smash hit in one thousand nine hundred eighty five selling half a million copies in a month but why did a song with such depressing racing lyrics resonate with people and what are those lyrics mean my name's. Moxy and this is your brain on facts Tennessee Ernie Ford was singing about a company town accompany town was a community built by a business owner typically in the steel lumber or coal industry to house their employees it was also usually an exercise in microcosmic fascism where employees were told old how they could live at their height three percent of the US population and many of them immigrants lived in one of the twenty five hundred company towns in the country country workers lived in company owned housing the cost of which was taken from their wages. Many companies also pay their workers in scrip basically funny money that could only be redeemed at company owned stores the unions that fought to eventually eradicate this system saw it as a form of bondage edge designed to keep workers trapped in poverty without enough money in their pockets to even think about starting over somewhere else the West Virginia Historical Society diety who's sparsely populated state saw half a dozen company towns wrote pricing in the company stores often higher than in surrounding non-company establishments published wants. It's true that in the mining families coal operators had captive purchasers for their goods. When the miners wade the price of shipping his purchases this is from a mail order catalogue or a local merchant against the price of what could be purchased at the company store often? The store ended up being the better bargain for the company's companies script provided an easy way to pay the miners without the necessity of keeping large amounts of cash available minors drew scrip advances for many purposes this should he run short in need food for the next payday. Script credit was available. If a minor was sick or injured companies would advance scrip pending receipt of his worker's comp checks for the operators. This was a no lose situation. Companies had the ability to virtually garnish a worker's wage to collect on a debt uh it would appear that the availability of such easy credit most miners would in fact oh their souls to the company store to give us an example couple of one of the nation's most famous and infamous company towns are the hosts of one of my drop everything to listen to podcasts cutting class which you can follow on your podcast player cutting Class PODCASTS DOT com. Thank you Moxie for introducing us. We are cutting class podcast. We're just JOE and we do history from a teacher's perspective but also try to look at the lighter more fun side of history right and in fact today we're going to get Super Fun with George Poelman Ullman and the pullman town right now and it is it doesn't sound very exciting but it's probably one of the most well known examples of a company town in American history three and a little bit about why here what makes this town special. Why do we seem to always see it in a textbook well. Let's let's get to like pullman and why why pullman it was a well known figure and then we sort of get to why the town is sort of a well-known thing. George Pullman is going to make his name in the train car business he was working with these things called superpowers. which are you know the passenger cars that people would travel in and what pullman did to really make his name and to make his fortune was he took these? Dank Dank dirty grimy old school sleeper cars and made them luxurious and comfortable and sexy and more importantly fairly expensive to travel avalon. Yeah is the first class of the train yeah exactly if you wanted to travel in style if you wanted to see and be seen on the train. You wanted to be traveling in a pullman in car and that's exactly what he did is. He made those cars available. He would lease these cars to the major railroad companies so he would never quite sell them. I am so in fact you know he's constantly making some money off of the leasing of the cars but it was in the railroad owners best interest to continue leasing those cars because they noticed high class. Americans pickens lots of dollars to spend likes to travel on the wind sleeper so that's where you know pullman makes his name and his fortune and he really Kinda hits his high point in the eighteen seventies denise into the eighteen eighty s now what appointments sort of crowning achievements and this is what breaks him out of just sort of a sort of a Titan of American industry into now one of these dudes. It's chasing the capitalist Utopian. Dream is the PULLMAN Company town that he completes construction on an eight hundred eighty four. It's right near Chicago Illinois and it's this massive like four thousand. Acre think of it as like a compound where pullman workers could live and work. It's like kind of a college campus. If you WANNA think of it that way for your workspace you work all day and then you come home to your fancy house and these houses czar nice for the day right. You've got running water. You've got maybe a little yard for yourself. You've got some you know room. That's yours. You're not crammed into. I don't know entire slum with bunch of other immigrant families room and the idea behind the whole thing was you can work play and live all in the same town but things of course art the utopia that they always seem they actually turn out to be kind of dark and scary what goes wrong in this perfect community so it's like it's like an episode of the the twilight zone whereas like you know the neighborhood always looks perfect but isn't there something rotten on maple street or something like that and the thing that's going on is sure you may have you know basement and separate bathrooms and water faucets that you wouldn't probably have in other big cities but you also couldn't just go out and buy some cigarettes and booze like you would any other town because pullman had fairly strict rules against that type of advice and behavior and in fact. If you want that kind of ice you would just go live in Chicago itself exactly you don't come here to trash my town in this where you get. The George pullman thought police right he was not only new band name. It's not only like doc you can't buy booze and alcohol but you also can't read certain books and certain things work sold in the stores and get to the micromanaging part that seems to ruin almost every utopia via right pullman had final say over the literature that would have put in the libraries he had final say over performances that would happen in the local theater and that was kind of the price you paid for living in pullman so sure they'll collect your garbage. Every day ensures. You're going to have running water but at the same time you are kind of turning over a little bit of that freedom that you have in your free the time to George pullman not only that but then they suspend the ability to have public meetings and speak your mind basically take a lot of your basic American American rights and put them on hiatus because you're living within this town so you abide by all of our rules well. Hey let's think about this. PULLMAN is offering a sweet deal. What is it that you have to complain. Lean about or meet about or speak about publicly anyway right. Oh yeah maybe that was the thought process but again down a very very slippery road there and so that's just a little tease a little inkling of the pullman company town and there's a lot more interesting stuff about this that you can check out of course on the Internet and on different videos and stuff F. or you can always check out cutting class podcast and learn a little bit more about it including a very famous railroad strike that happens with the epicenter at the pullman the company town thanks guys the town of pullman featured more than a thousand homes public buildings and parks residences says had yards indoor plumbing gas daily trash removal rare amenities for industrial workers of the era pullman didn't build his workers good houses to to be kind to them though he thought the working class were barely better than animals and if he could surround them with good things they would become more civilized the houses this couldn't be purchased only rented managers lived.